When was the last time you made pasta by hand?
I know I’ve never attempted it on my own and I could easily come up with a hundred excuses: I don’t have the ingredients, it’ll take too long, it’s too much work and on and on, but after taking a cooking class at Casa Artusi, I’m starting to think these are just poor excuses that stem from common misconceptions.
It turns out making pasta is surprisingly easy (you only need two ingredients) and once you get the hang of it, it’s also very quick! Today I’ll be sharing about my pasta making class so that you too can try making pasta from scratch at home, or if you find yourself in Forlimpopoli, you can learn from the masters themselves!
Italy’s first cookbook author
My cooking adventure began at Casa Artusi, which is named after Pellegrino Artusi, the father of modern Italian cookery. Born into a family of wealthy merchants, Artusi spent most of his life focusing on business, however, it was in his later years that he decided to follow his two passions: Italian cuisine and writing. This lead him to write the best-seller La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiare bene also known as The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well.
At the time, not a single publisher believed this cookbook had any potential, so Artusi ended up publishing in 1891 at his own expense. What made this book so remarkable is that it was written just two decades after the unification of Italy and it was the first to include recipes from all the different regions in one single cookbook. Artusi’s book was such a hit that he began receiving letters from food enthusiasts all over Italy, letting him know about regional recipes that he had missed and needed to be added.
Over the course of his life, Artusi would go on to write a total of 15 editions and the cookbook would grow to hold a total of 790 recipes. Not bad for a book that not a single publisher wanted to touch!
How to make pasta from scratch
Having learned all about Artusi and the creation of his cookbook, it was finally time for us to make our way into the kitchen. Today we would be focusing on making pasta from scratch, and I have to say, I was surprised by how easy and how few ingredients were required to make it!
Our instructor explained that the ratio for pasta is 100 grams of flour to 1 egg (powder-fine 00 flour is best). That’s it! When someone in our group asked if any salt or spices were required, she explained that Italian food is all about “the luxury of simplicity” and using as few ingredients as possible to create a culinary masterpiece. With that in mind, we got right into it.
To help us in the pasta making process, we each had the help of a Mariette. The Mariette are volunteers who are happy to share their traditional cooking knowledge with visitors, so that the art of Italian cookery is passed on. The volunteerrs are named Mariette as a nod to Marietta, Artusi’s own cook who helped test out the recipes included in The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well.
I ended up with the sweetest Mariette who was kind, encouraging, and kept telling me “Bravissima!” every time I managed to fold pasta into a new shape. She didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Italian, but we managed to understand each other just fine. In total, we made 9 different types of pasta from the same dough, focusing especially on the tagliatelle since that’s what we would be having for lunch.
A fine Italian meal with friends
After a busy morning in the kitchen, I can tell you that we were all ready to dive into lunch. We started things out with a spread of meats, cheeses, breads, figs, and pickled vegetables, and then we moved on to our homemade tagliatelle served with a simple yet delicious tomato sauce. Our pasta may not have looked perfect, but it tasted amazing knowing that we had made it from scratch with our own hands.
Planning your visit to Casa Artusi
If you find yourself travelling around Emilia-Romagna, this is a really fun experience that I can happily recommend! Casa Artusi’s scheduled cooking classes are in Italian, however, they do organize cooking classes in English upon request. These classes can hold anywhere between 1 to 20 participants. Also, the cooking classes at Casa Artusi aren’t just about making pasta, so you can customize your cooking experience. The best way to get in touch is to send them a message through their contact form.
Have you ever taken an Italian cooking class?
What Italian dish would you like to learn to make?
This post was brought to you as a result of the #EuroFoodTrip campaign, created and managed by iambassador in partnership with Costa Brava & Girona Pyrenees and Emilia Romagna Tourism. As always, I retain full editorial control of everything published.